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Assessment following cervical manipulation (07HDC20616)

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(07HDC20616, 24 June 2008)

Chiropractor ~ Cervical manipulation ~ Standard of care ~ Documentation ~ Rights 4(1), 4(2)

A 33-year-old woman attended a chiropractor because of chronic headaches and neck pain. The chiropractor assessed her as having a mechanical dysfunction of her cervical spine, and informed her of his assessment and proposed treatment, including the associated risks. He then commenced treatment, which included a range of manipulations of the spine.

The woman saw the chiropractor on four separate occasions. Following the fourth treatment, which included manipulation of her cervical spine, the woman experienced altered sensations including spots in her eyesight and unsteadiness on her feet. The chiropractor advised her that this was normal and carried out no further assessment. She was later diagnosed as having had a stroke.

It was held that by failing to respond appropriately to the woman's symptoms immediately after the cervical manipulation, the chiropractor did not provide services with appropriate care, and breached Right 4(1). It was also held that he did not maintain adequate documentation as expected of a health professional, breaching Right 4(2).

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